Fourth Test Match

AUSTRALIA v WEST INDIES

Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: A. J. Bichel; A. F. G. Griffith.

In Adelaide four years previously, the sting was in the last ball, when West Indies won by one run. This time, the match and series were as good as decided before the first ball.

The late withdrawal of Ambrose dealt a massive psychological blow to West Indies. But Australia's gamble of playing the enigmatic Bevan as a front-line spinner became a masterstroke. He took ten wickets with his left-arm wrist-spin and scored 85 in an all-round performance of rare efficacy. Early on the fourth morning, West Indies slumped to their second-worst defeat ever at Australia's hands, and Taylor had retained the Frank Worrell Trophy.

Bevan and yet another Queensland fast bowler, Andy Bichel, replaced Reiffel and the injured Gillespie. Though Bevan maintained that he was still a batsman, he was listed at No. 7. The tourists brought in Cuffy, a recent reinforcement, and Thompson for their injured quick bowlers Ambrose and Benjamin, and swapped left-handed openers Samuels and Adrian Griffith.

West Indies betrayed their absent - Ambrose complex by choosing to bat first. It was a token performance: all out in just over three hours. Taylor was bowling Bevan before drinks on the first morning and in tandem with Warne immediately afterwards. Lara played a horrible shot to his first ball from Warne to be caught at mid-on, and what little fight there was in West Indies was snuffed out. McGrath snapped up Hooper, and Bevan took the last four in 28 balls for one run.

Australia then batted the best part of the next 12 hours to make 517. Further failures for Taylor and Langer hardly mattered as their team-mates drove nail after nail into West Indies' coffin. Hayden the imperturbable outlived three chances to arrive after four and a half hours at a stout-hearted maiden century. Mark Waugh, who made a studied 82, shared a three-hour stand of 164.

West Indies were at a low ebb: they missed six catches and a stumping, and had further wickets invalidated by two of their plentiful no-balls. Clive Lloyd said he had not seen worse cricket from a West Indian team. Yet they bowled so beautifully to Hayden on the second morning that it was more than 40 minutes before he added to his overnight score; then, having failed to claim him or Mark Waugh, they yielded to fate. Two of their three wickets on that bleak day were virtually accidental. Wicket-keeper Murray dropped Mark Waugh, only for the ball to bobble up from the flap of his pad back into his gloves. And Steve Waugh, who for two years had kept out the world's best, got such a rank long hop from Chanderpaul that it was on its downward arc when it reached him - and he slashed to cover.

Australia were already 158 ahead when Bevan joined Blewett, and they more than doubled that lead. Blewett breezed to 99 then, having been refused an apparently obvious single by Bevan, was bowled through the gate by Cuffy. But Bevan, anxious to prove his worth as a batsman, laboured five and a half hours for an unbeaten 85. In the circumstances, Taylor was happy enough to indulge that rate of scoring, and Australia finally led by 387.

There was a macabre inevitability about West Indies' second innings. Bevan had Chanderpaul and Campbell caught at slip before Warne even came on to bowl. Lara retorted with a six each off Bevan and Warne as he and Hooper shared 96 in even time for the fourth wicket, but it was no more than a death rattle.

Man of the Match: M. G. Bevan. Attendance: 68,435.

Close of play: First day, Australia 139-2 (M. L. Hayden 66*, M. E. Waugh 31*); Second day, Australia 434-5 (G. S. Blewett 91*, M. G. Bevan 47*); Third day, West Indies 154-6 (B. C. Lara 65*).

© John Wisden & Co